Welcome to Cool Comics in My Collection Episode 101, where we take a look at comic books I own (and in some cases ones that I let get away), both new and old, often with a nostalgic leaning for those feelings of yesteryear.
For each of the comic books I include in this blog (except for digital issues), I list the current secondary market value. This is according to the listings at the website www.comicbookrealm.com. They list out the near mint prices, which are on the comic book grading scale of 9.4. If you go to the website to look up any in your collection, you can click on the price and see the value at different grades. Not all of my comics are 9.4. Some are probably better, and some are worse. But to simplify it, that’s the grading price I use here. And remember, a comic book is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
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If you have any questions or comments, please scroll to the bottom of the page to where it says, “Leave a reply.” I hope you enjoy seeing these as much as I do writing about them. And now, Episode 101…
Cool Comics News!
On August 20, my wife (Melissa) and I attended the third annual NEO (Northeast Ohio) Comic Con, in North Olmstead, Ohio. While there were lots of vendor tables full of comics, many dealers also had original works of art, crafty things they’d created, and lots of other collectibles such as Funko Pops! (Melissa scored two she wanted immediately after we got our wristbands).
Some of the stuff I really enjoyed seeing were items from my childhood, such as Topps Planet of the Apes trading cards and a Lite-Brite in the original box! It was like taking a ride in the TARDIS and visiting my childhood years (I look a little wibbly wobbly in the picture, don’t I?). There were all kinds of toys and action figures galore, from current times to several decades old. It was definitely a cool place to be for a person like me!
As a comic book lover, I probably could have spent hours doing nothing but searching through back issue boxes, but that isn’t fair to Melissa (along with another couple we met up with there), so I set my goal on finding one particular comic book: The Champions #2 from 1976. Faithful readers know of my love affair with Seventies comic books, and some of you may know that I owned 16 of the 17 issues from this short-lived series. So when you have a particular item in mind, it makes sifting through the dealer boxes a little easier. The first couple dealers I stopped at had some issues of The Champions, and while my heart started beating a little faster, once again that sneaky #2 was nowhere to be found. But within 15 minutes of walking in, I finally pulled that beauty out of a dealer’s box, prepared to pay the price he wanted, and he actually gave me a bit of a discount. Score! That’s all I needed to make my month. And with that said, all the Cool Comics listed below came from NEO Comic Con.
The atmosphere at NEO Comic Con was fun, especially if you enjoy seeing people walking around in costumes of comic book characters. And while they had a cosplay event and several different panels with guests, I wasn’t able to fit them in that day. I’ve included a few pictures here that you can see of the crowd and a couple attendees in costume. Also, they had photo opportunities with props or people dressed as characters, with money often going towards charities. You can see Melissa when she used to wield a lightsaber with the best of them, and with her childhood hero, Captain Kangaroo!
NEO Comic Con had some fantastic guests, including Kevin Nowlan, Bob Hall, Tony Isabella, Marc Sumerak, Aaron Archer, Don Simpson, Darryl Banks, Matt Horak, and many more. For a full list please click here.
Many comic book fans are familiar with the Seventies character Black Lightning from DC Comics, and some are aware that The CW is giving him a TV show to be launched in 2018. I’m not sure what kind of a tie-in it may have with Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, but I’m excited about it. And for those who may not know, Tony Isabella is the creator of the character (he also created The Champions and wrote that #2 issue I’m so excited about finding!). This was the first time I ever met Tony, and he was very personable and a blast to talk with for the few moments I held up the line of people standing behind me! Tony has recently put out the first volume of a book about how he is collecting every comic book issued in July of 1963 (and yes, I bought it and had Tony sign it!). It may be awhile before I get around to reading it, due to a big stack of books I’m in the middle of, but once I read it, I’ll let you know what I think. If you are interested in the book, just click on the title: July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic Book Life of Tony Isabella, Volume One, by Tony Isabella.
NEO Comic Con was a great success, from my perspective. The venue was good, albeit crowded at times, and the only downside was parking proved difficult for some attendees. Shawn Belles, the creator and organizer of NEO Comic Con, is to be commended, and I look forward to attending again in the future!
Cool comics in my collection #482: Octo Skull #1, September 2016.
As an Indie author, I understand the importance of building an audience, and when you’ve created something new and different, something that doesn’t have a major company logo on the cover, it can be a hard sell. But sometimes you’re considered the coolest kid on the block, because you’re a trend-setter in discovering the next big thing. And while I have no idea if Octo Skull will become a “next big thing,” I’m really glad I own a copy of it. Signed by Matt Horak. Let the jealousy begin. For those who may not be familiar with the name, Matt Horak is an artist who has recently penciled The Punisher for Marvel. But he also works for EarthQuaker Devices, a local company that makes effects pedals, and the Octo Skull comic is based somewhat on these concepts. I’m not going to pretend that I understand the effects pedals part of it, but I can tell you that the art and story were good, and left me wanting to read more. Only there isn’t more, yet, from what I can tell. You can check out Matt’s bio information using the link in the section above. The cover price of Octo Skull #1 is $2.99, while the current value is $3.
Cool comics in my collection #483: Apama The Undiscovered Animal Volume 1, February 2015.
You never know who or what you might run into when attending a comic con. Sometimes you find a new creator with some comics that you like, and sometimes you are fortunate enough to find a creator with comics that you love! Because I’d been focusing on older comics on my blog for the last couple years, and I’d basically been out of the game of buying new ones, I’d never heard of Apama or one of his creative team members, Ted Sikora. Ted had a nice exhibit at NEO Comic Con, with all kinds of Apama art, comics, and other cool stuff. As I was approaching him, I heard him telling another attendee a little about the Apama comics, how the story takes place in the greater Cleveland area, even using West Side Market in one of the stories. It intrigued me, and after a brief discussion, I told him I’d be back later. Often people use that as an excuse to get away, but I really did intend on going back before I left, and wow am I glad I did! Along with getting an autographed copy, I really enjoyed a few more minutes of getting to talk with Ted. The Apama comics are visually appealing, especially to someone who loves that Seventies look, with great use of color and backgrounds that include real places in the Cleveland area. The writing helps move the story forward, while at the same time giving you an opportunity to get to know the characters. The first trade paperback contains 5 full comics worth, along with plenty of background material to keep fans interested. I’ll definitely be buying the second volume, as Apama is now one of my favorite series. The cover price of Apama The Undiscovered Animal Volume 1 is $19.99, while the current value is $20.
Cool Comics Classics
Cool comics in my collection #484: The Champions #2, January 1976.
Our Cool Comics Classic this week is none other than The Champions #2, the one comic I had on my “must find” list for NEO Comic Con. Doesn’t it feel good to complete something? It’s an accomplishment, and I’m so glad I was able to finish up my run of The Champions from the Seventies. I’ve now read every issue, albeit not in numerical order, but that’s okay with me. The Champions is an eclectic mix of characters, including Hercules, the Black Widow, Ghost Rider, Angel, and Iceman. One of the things I most like to collect now are short runs of comics from the Seventies that aren’t too difficult to complete (both in finding the comics and in the money I need to spend to finish the series). While I like getting good buys on comics in nice condition, sometimes quality takes a back seat, because in the end, I want to complete that set and read the comics. This search for The Champions #2 took a little over a year, reminding me of how long I looked for Ms. Marvel #9, until my daughter’s boyfriend was able to find one and gave me a spectacular gift! Do you have any particular collecting goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below. The cover price of The Champions #2 is 25¢, while the current value is $20.